The concept for our new project, “Inspiration Exchange,” started over twenty years ago when I had the privilege of giving friend and internet pioneer (amongst his myriad esteemed titles), John Perry Barlow, a ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles for his “Colbert Report” appearance.

John was an early deep dive patron of the internet, coining the term “Cyberspace” and his Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace was perhaps the first viral element, appearing on thousands of websites and leading him to a long journey as keynote speak at countless conferences and gatherings. John is missed by a great many.

At the time, I was troubled by recent school and public shootings, they felt like a fairly new and growing phenomenon. I was deeply concerned about the isolation that led to so many personal and social problems, and I wondered if technology could be used to help connect young people with the wisdom of their elders and if those connections could provide some relief.

During our long car ride, Barlow and I discussed the idea of creating a mentoring program that would use technology to connect the heart and wisdom of age to young people in need. We talked about the power of inspired modeling, the importance of connection, and the role that wisdom and experience could play in shaping the lives of young people. I wish I had that dialogue recorded, paraphrasing Barlow is an impossible task for anyone

In the months that followed there was a noticeable rise in these attacks, the Virginia Tech massacre occurred within just three weeks. Nearly two years later my own mother was on multiple national news outlets giving her on-site description of the scene of the American Civic Shooting (13 victims) in New York state, as her home bedroom window was directly across the street and she was the only unevacuated resident nearby.  From my home in Oregon I heard my mother describing the tragedy on CNN, providing commentary as body bags were being removed. 

Over the years, the idea continued to percolate, and I wondered just how to pull it together into a reality. JPB passed in 2018, and the violence and isolation has since only multiplied. This project is deeply needed and long overdue. Now, we are partnering with several organizations and people who are experts in the field of mental and emotional well-being to develop a series of mentoring videos that could offer young people the guidance and support they needed. 

The project, entitled “Inspiration Exchange” is finally becoming a reality, and we are excited to share it with the world. We believe that this project can make a real difference in the lives of young people, helping them to find balance and stability in an increasingly complex world. Our hope is that you will join us in this endeavor and share your wisdom and insights with those who need it most

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